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Articles Tagged with Libertas Institute

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In 2016, Kyle Savely was driving on I-80 in Summit County, Utah when he was pulled over by the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP). Officers said the man had been tailgating the car in front. A drug dog examined the car and alerted officers to the presence of narcotics. They searched the man’s car and, while they found no drugs, they did find the man was traveling with cash in excess of $500,000.

The man was charged with a traffic violation and police seized his money. Although he was later acquitted of the charge, the UHP did not return the cash. Instead of giving the money back to its owner, the UHP handed it over to the Drug Enforcement Administration because, they said, the DEA had an active investigation against him.
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Last year, police in Utah seized over $2.5 million in cash and property using civil asset forfeiture. This is a sharp increase on the $1.4 million seized in 2016, fueling concerns that property may be taken from innocent people.

Civil asset forfeiture is a system which allows law enforcement to seize property suspected of being connected to a crime. Before the property can be seized permanently, law enforcement in Utah is required to show clear, convincing evidence that it was linked to a crime. However, this requirement falls below the standard followed in criminal cases: that it must be proved “beyond reasonable doubt.” No criminal charges are needed for police to take property.
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